How to Create Simple Software Products That People Will Actually Buy Even if You Can't Code

[Part I] How to Create Simple Software Products That People Will Actually Buy Even if You Can’t Code

I truly know next to nothing about coding. Aside from basic HTML tags which I use for this blog (that big letter “I” you see preceding the first sentence is about the extent of my skills), I am on the same level of understanding as 95% of the people who will read this.

Odds are good that you actually know more than me. But I am about to show you why that is very, very exciting.

Anyone who can orchestrate the conversion of an idea into a functional software that provides utility (value) to end users is well on the way to serious success.

Defining “simple software”

When I refer to “simple software” throughout this series, I am referring to anything that works as part of the operation of computers and mobile devices. This is essentially, any of the following:

  • Mobile apps (Android, iOS)
  • Web based tools
  • Browser extensions
  • Desktop applications
  • Plugins for various systems

Although I am a fan video games (Call of Duty Ghosts on PS4 has not sped up my quest to becoming a millionaire), the methods I am going to share with you in this series will not translate well into traditional video game development and design. Creators who think like me would make apps like Flappy Bird or Minecraft (Minecraft is still way bigger than I’d want, but relatively speaking, it is “lean”on code for a video game). Video games require man hours and talent that far exceeds anything I want to be a part of! I am happy someone else does, but I can make a healthy living off of softwares with a micro-fraction of the coding and effort required.

Software (as defined above) unlike physical products and labor intensive services presents tremendous opportunities.

  1. You can reap profits on an enormous scale with far less ongoing capital, time and labor.
  2. You can sell software 24/7 and don’t need inventory (some very minor exceptions withstanding).
  3. Software projects be outsourced (oh God, can they be outsourced!)
  4. Many projects can be completed for under $1,000 (one case study we will explore in this series is a recent launch I was part of that cost $35 to develop  and generated $2,000 in profits within a few hours of cart opening (ok, this is an extreme outlier on the lower side of price!) and another that did over $20k in profits and cost less than $500 to develop!

If you are an entrepreneur, you should be nearly crapping your pants at the potential here.

Don’t get me wrong, selling software includes ongoing work that can stick around long after the launch, but if done correctly, this method has more potential than any other type of venture on the planet.

So, you may not need much convincing why software is so lucrative, but I know you could use some advice on how to get a project completed even if you have no programming experience.

I was satisfied with the launch below…

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Make Chrome Extensions

We will be going more into the details of this launch and what I did that gave me an “edge,” but you may be surprised how little was actually involved.

Nothing I do should be considered terribly difficult or something that requires a huge, pre-existing audience. Don’t get me wrong, having your own audience helps! But the goal of this article is to show you how to sell software solutions regardless of the size of your following or experience with development.

Even though the launch above was a “success,” I made a lot of mistakes. I recognized that these mistakes were going to be worth thousands of dollars to me in terms of the learning experience and now knowing how to bypass them in the future. You will get full access to this learning experience in this series, so that is awesome.

In the upcoming posts, I will show you:

  • The biggest mistake that I made and how you can avoid making it.
  • How I decided to price the product to optimize sales.
  • How I added genuine scarcity to the product to increase sales AND provide better customer support.

Since my goal is to get you serious, actionable insights, I want to take this even further. Remember that I have:

  • Next to no coding skills! If it’s not a basic HTML tag, I have no idea…
  • My typical budget was <$1,000 for development on my top selling tools…

I am not a genius at this process, but I feel that my failures and successes combined with my ability to articulate what I do know very clearly, you will come away much more prepared to launch your first software project..(but hey if you read this and it works I want you to let me know by emailing me at nate@entreresource.com!)

Do I need to learn to code?

It is being pushed on various business blogs I read that entrepreneurs (and really anyone) should begin learning some kind of software language. 

I agree it is an awesome thing to do, but I don’t agree that learning to write software to create a problem solving, money making software solution is wise.

We will discuss this further in the next chapters, but for now, don’t worry if you can’t code. I won’t drop it on you later that you “kind of” need to code or anything crazy like that.

What is coming up in this series?

Some of the tips and tricks I use for my launches we will discuss…

  • I sold my most successful products on just two mediums. The biggest of which you can sell on for free (fees after sales) and get started in less than 30 minutes…
  • My personal audience reach is small. Yours most likely is even smaller, but I will show you how I expand exponentially very quickly and with no upfront costs…
  • How to get design work and instructional videos created for free or very cheap. The impact of quality design on sales is bigger than I thought at first…oh, and I am NOT a designer.
  • Why listening to the customer isn’t always right. This can easily RUIN your projects.
  • Why you are most likely trying to do too much. The minimum viable product is often exactly what users want and you may be overwhelming them with bloated software!

Of course, the most basic questions will be answered as well like…

  • Where to find the right developers. Don’t waste time and money and ruin your reputation!
  • How to decide if there is a market for your tool or service before you spend any money. I stole part of this from Tim Ferriss.
  • How to find your first users and build social proof the right way. You may actually be breaking the law if you do this wrong!
  • How to test your UI and ensure your product is solid before launching.

I was shocked when I realized I was doing my projects completely backward!

Throughout the series, we will have interviews with software creators, developers, and marketers who are way beyond me in skill level and experience.

Ok, are you ready? Let’s get on with it then.

Coming up next: Why You Should Outsource Your Software Development

About Nate McCallister

Nate is the founder and main contributor of EntreResource.com. He is a lifestyle entrepreneur who spends his time building businesses and raising his two kids Sawyer and Brooks with his beautiful wife Emily. His main interests include copywriting, economics and piano.

7 comments

  1. Great post!looking foward on learning more about this!looks very interesting and I enjoy reading your posts!keep up the good work ?

  2. Great read man! Look forward to learning more.

  3. Nate thanks!
    That’s exactly what I was thinking about recently! When next post is gonna be?

  4. Todd Noren-Hentz

    Watch out for Upwork Arbitrage with coders farming out work to lower paid programmers.

  5. Food for thought…
    Outsourcing to competent developers outside of developed countries looks very profitable.
    What kind of “hits vs misses” ratio have you experienced with the apps and programs you have developed?
    Does the 80/20 tend to apply to this?

    • Yeah Andy definitely some swings and misses!

      I highly recommend once you find a good developer(s) you keep them close by!

      Also is smart to have someone you trust perhaps do a follow up on the “guts” of the extension or software once it’s done, before you release any escrow money.

  6. Great Read, I am looking forward to executing this thanks for the info

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